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Images are worth more than you can put to words, but you still need to be able to describe those images. To get your content seen by more people, you need to learn a skill known as image optimization.
What is Image Optimization?
Simply put, image optimization is reducing the file size overall without losing the quality. This helps with load times and with SEO. For those interested in SEO rankings, image optimization also helps you achieve higher ranks on Google and other search engines.
Now, how do you optimize web images?
1. Proper Image Names
You might be tempted to keep the file name arbitrarily given to images and other media from devices because it’s less complicated, but you shouldn’t. Relevant key words belong in every image name. You also need descriptive details. If you want better SEO, get into the habit of using 1-2 adjectives and at least 1 keyword for your image names.
An example would be naming a picture of dumbbells for a fitness website. You might call it “fitness-exercises-dumbbells.jpg.”
2. Alt Attribute Optimization
Whenever browsers cannot render an image or a visually-impaired individual comes onto the site, the alt attributes are used to describe the image that cannot be seen. Alt attributes are also used when the image is visible but the cursor hovers over it to explain the picture in greater detail.
Again, this is for SEO. You can include relevant keywords and that will help with ranking. However, you should use plain words and be succinct. Avoid keyword stuffing.
For example, using the dumbbells from above, you might have the following alt attribute: “Two 8kg dumbbells for fitness and exercises.”
3. Choose Smart Dimensions
Although dimensions apply more to product images, you can use the same principles for stock photos. When you are selling something, you should choose the dimensions wisely. Think of online shopping sites, where different angles of a product are given so you can see everything.
Additionally, you never want to use the use the largest dimensions of these photographs, especially if you have multiple attempting to load all at once. Shrink down images via source code. Otherwise, your page load time will be sluggish.
4. Reduce The File Size
You want fast load times because the average person won’t even wait 3 seconds for a page to load. If you have a multitude of large files on your site, you should reduce the file size. How? Some websites automatically compress files, but some hosts don’t. In that event, open the image in Photoshop or an alternative and select the “Save for Web” option.
This adjusts the image size without sacrificing the quality.
5. Thumbnail Optimization
For the same reason you want to resize large images, you need to optimize thumbnails too. Having hundreds of thumbnails for promotional material or products looks great on the website—when it loads. If you have too many, your load time is going to suffer. Since thumbnails are so small, you can reduce the quality slightly. Also, remember that the alt attributes fro thumbnails should all be different and unique. Never copy and paste alt attributes from bigger photos onto thumbnails, since that could index them as a large version.
Imagine optimization is a practice for maintaining quality while keeping the load speed fast and other elements as functional as possible. Now that you understand some ways to optimize your website’s images, start using them immediately. You will certainly see a change in your SEO afterwards.